With the New Year coming, I thought it would be the perfect time to confront the subject of fear. Yes, it’s a scary word; and a very useful one too. Most people think that being fearless in life will take them further, but having fear and knowing how to use it can actually catapult you into some serious, mind-blowing action and deep transformation.
I used to do everything I could to avoid my own fear. I would even pretend that I didn’t have it. I shoved it aside and tried not to notice it, even though I sometimes felt it traveling through my veins, up into my throat and out through my ears. It wasn’t until I learned how to become buddies with my fear, and use it as a positive influence that things in my life started to change, for the better, and success was something that was tangible and not just a dream.
Fear Is In Our Nature
Fear is hard wired in us as humans. We needed it back in the caveman days to stay safe from those big ole' dinosaurs. Remember, Land of the Lost? I loved that show. Fear also keeps us from doing stupid things (sometimes) like walking out in the middle of a busy street, or putting our hands in the campfire. Over time, that just becomes common sense, but fear is just the beginning to the feelings that cause actions that can completely stop us dead in our tracks, in many areas of our life.
Fear is something that transforms people. Take my friend Jeremy Yost, he was obese at 365 pounds and lost all hope of ever being healthy or fit. It wasn’t until one day that a very close friend of his asked him if he was afraid of having another man raise his children. This hit Jeremy in the heart. The fear was real. This fear was what he needed to kick his own ass to lose 185 pounds (half of his body weight) and become the healthiest and fittest he’s ever been. He used his fear to motivate himself and drive his desire to be a better man and father.
Fear has a Message
The bottom line is that fear will always be with you, but what you do with the fear is what’s most important. You could let fear paralyze you, or you can befriend it, listen to it, and hear what it has to tell you. There is always a message, and that message can contain wisdom letting you know that something BIG needs to change, as in Jeremy’s case.
Jeremy started to look at his fear by making two lists; why he should get healthy and why he shouldn’t get healthy. The reasons why he should far outweighed the reasons why he shouldn’t. This was incredibly eye opening to him and just what he needed to kick-start him on his path to fitness and health. He took it step-by-step, day-by-day and noticed small improvements along the way and didn’t let the fear take over. He is now incredibly fit, strong, healthy and happy. This is what fear can do for you if you channel it and use it for positive results.
How You Can Use Your Fear
If you are someone who has been letting fear run your life or certain areas of your life, it’s time to take some action.
1. Write down what your fears are – make your own lists like Jeremy did.
2. Ask yourself if these fears are valid and then write down the worst possible outcome for each one.
3. Once you do that, ask yourself if the worst possible outcome will happen and see what the real answer is. The answer is usually No. And if it's yes, write down what you will do then.
4. Now figure out what steps you need to take to keep moving forward. Write those down, post them on a wall, and enroll a friend to support you.
Whenever I feel fear now, I give it a high 5, ask it how it can benefit me in the certain situation and move forward. The same old fears, which most of us have, can become a loud broken record over time. I got tired of my fear. It always said the same thing; Run, Avoid, Hide Run, and avoid some more. I realized it wasn’t serving any good so I kicked that crap to the curb. The way it did serve me was to use it as a motivator; a fuel to my fire if you will, to keep moving forward no matter what.
Fear can help us move forward with desire, passion and motivation. The more you resist, the more it persists! So, take responsibility for your experience and tell fear it can come along for the ride, but it has to sit in the back seat.